The latest vehicle theft stats from ICBC indicate that vehicle thefts and break-ins continue to decline provincially, but also show that they only reflect part of the picture when it comes to Williams Lake.
In a press release issued Thursday, ICBC stated that in Williams Lake, there were 33 per cent fewer vehicle theft incidents and 37 per cent fewer break-ins in 2011 compared to 2010.
An ICBC chart shows 20 theft-from-vehicle incidents in 2011, a decrease from 30 theft-from-vehicle incidents in 2010.
Sgt. Richard Lebeuf of the Williams Lake RCMP says the RCMP’s stats are quite different.
For example, they show 76 theft-from-vehicle incidents in 2010 and 109 theft-from-vehicle incidents in 2011, indicating an increase.
“I think we get a lot more reported than what gets reported to ICBC,” Lebeuf says, adding not everybody goes through insurance.
There has been a reduction of theft-of-vehicles though and that has been a result of pro-active enforcement, Lebeuf says.
Lebeuf says there’s been a 55 per cent decrease in the amount of theft-of-vehicles between 2010 and 2011, an 80 per cent reduction of theft of trucks over $5,000, and an 83 per cent reduction of trucks under $5,000.
The bait program was introduced in Williams Lake in 2003, and vehicle crime rates spiked in 2007 and 2008, so Lebeuf doesn’t think the bait program has been much of a contributing factor to reducing vehicle crime.
Instead, he suggests its pro-active, rather than reactive, enforcement that’s making the difference.
“We had a slight decrease between 2010 and 2011 for calls for service so that gives the boots-on-the-ground types of members more time to go out and do these types of enforcements and patrols.”
Equally important are routine curfew checks on known offenders who commit vehicle crimes and the successful arrest and prosecution of known offenders, Lebeuf adds.
Citizens on Patrol are also out surveilling areas in the city that are known to have higher rates of vehicle thefts and break-ins.
“There’s more community awareness too, which means we’re receiving more reports of suspicious activities,” Lebeuf says.